Articles

A stocktake on the fisheries red-tape reduction programme

A stocktake on the fisheries red-tape reduction programme

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  By Dr Drew Donnelly, Compliance Quarter. The Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) has just announced that it has passed the milestone of 50 initiatives aimed at streamlining and updating the regulatory environment for the fishing industry. However, neither the Government’s announcement, the AFMA website, nor any accompanying media provide an up-to-date explanation of which of those initiatives have been implemented, which are being progressed and which have stalled. Furthermore, on 9 June a new national peak body for the seafood industry, ‘Seafood Industry Australia’ was launched. This body will provide a unified, non-fragmented, voice for the industry and will almost certainly place pressure on the Government and its agencies to demonstrate more progress in the area. Today, we provide a quick stocktake on some key initiatives that we know…
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Is Energy Regulation Fit for Purpose? Review of regulatory arrangements for embedded networks – AER submission

Is Energy Regulation Fit for Purpose? Review of regulatory arrangements for embedded networks – AER submission

AU Energy Compliance
By Anne Wardell, Compliance Quarter. In a recent article, Embedded Networks under the spotlight, Connor James outlined the Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) review of the regulatory arrangements for embedded networks. The AEMC released a consultation paper and sought submissions. The Australian Energy Regulator (AER) lodged a submission on 17 May 2017. In this article I consider the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) submission. Paula Conboy, Chair of the AER, has provided a covering letter which usefully summarises the recommendations made in the submission. Attachment A provides detailed answers to the questions asked in the Consultation paper. The AER is of the view that the review ‘provides an opportunity to consider whether the benefits of embedded networks outweigh the detriment’[1] The submission identifies both areas for improvement in the regulatory framework…
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Embedded Networks Under the Spotlight

Embedded Networks Under the Spotlight

AU Energy Compliance
By Connor James, Compliance Quarter. The Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) is reviewing the regulatory arrangements for embedded networks. Embedded networks operate in a unique space from the regulatory perspective. Common examples of embedded networks include shopping centres, retirement villages, apartment complexes and caravan parks. Embedded networks are also found in commercial buildings. Below we discuss the AEMC review and the broad regulatory challenges with embedded networks. What is an embedded network? Embedded networks are private electricity networks connected to the distribution and transmission system of the national electricity market through a parent connection point (gate meter). Consumers within embedded networks are typically individually metered and sold electricity from the ENO. ENOs own network infrastructure and on-sell electricity from the gate meter within the embedded network to the occupants. There…
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Dousing the phoenix: Three measures that could curb this dodgy insolvency practice

Dousing the phoenix: Three measures that could curb this dodgy insolvency practice

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                              By Dr Drew Donnelly, Compliance Quarter. We mentioned last time that the Government is consulting on some options for curbing the misuse of the ‘safety net’ available for companies unable to pay employment entitlements on insolvency. There, we discussed the possibility of Government action to stop an illegal ‘phoenix company’, otherwise known as ‘phoenixing’ or ‘phoenix activity’. Today’s article is a deep dive into this particular practice: What is it, and what could be done to put a stop to it? The definition of “phoenix activity” In their 2015 report Business Set-Up, Transfer and Closure, the Productivity Commission defined illegal phoenix activity as: “the shifting of a business’s assets but not liabilities away from a…
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Complaints Resolution for Exempt Customers

Complaints Resolution for Exempt Customers

AU Energy Compliance
By Anne Wardell, Compliance Quarter. Small customers of authorised retailers and distributors of energy have access to free and independent dispute resolution through their state ombudsman. This is not the case for small customers of exempt energy sellers and exempt network service providers. These can be small customers who live in a caravan park, retirement village or high-rise apartment and receive energy by way of an embedded network which is private. There are numerous classes of deemed, registerable and individual energy sellers and network service providers. Although one of the conditions required for an exemption is an adequate dispute resolution system, this does not allow customers to access the ombudsman service, except in NSW. On 13 June 2017, the AER published an issues paper seeking stakeholders' views on the current…
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Changes to Energy Retail Reporting and Audit Obligations

Changes to Energy Retail Reporting and Audit Obligations

AU Energy Compliance
By Anne Wardell, Compliance Quarter On 9 June 2017, the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) released the following documents: Compliance procedures and guidelines – Version 4 – June 2017, and The AER Practice Guide for Compliance Audits – June 2017. The revised guidelines incorporate new rules introduced by the Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC), refine the reporting framework and provide new guidance material on compliance audits. Changes to reporting obligations An important change is to the name given to reports and reporting periods. Reports will now be referred to as Immediate, Quarterly or Half Yearly Reports. Consequently, the sections in the procedures and guidelines which deal with reporting have been amended in line with this change. This includes substantive amendments to Appendix A. The report and template contained in Appendix B…
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Combating base erosion and profit-shifting: A primer on the new multilateral tax convention

Combating base erosion and profit-shifting: A primer on the new multilateral tax convention

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On 7 June in Paris, 68 nations signed the Multilateral Convention to Implement Tax Treaty Related Measures to Prevent Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS)(the new Convention). Australia was one of the signatories. The new Convention sets minimum standards to be incorporated in tax agreements between nations. Some provisions in the new Convention are mandatory for signatories, while others are optional. In many cases, the provisions of the new Convention are intended to remedy the ‘OECD Model Tax Convention’. Today we offer a primer on the new Convention. We summarise the underlying rationale, some key components and the next steps for Australia. For the new Convention itself, go to http://www.oecd.org/tax/treaties/multilateral-convention-to-implement-tax-treaty-related-measures-to-prevent-BEPS.pdf. Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) The new Convention arises from the OECD/G20 Base Erosion and Profit Shifting Project. Through…
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In the case of business failure: your obligations for employee entitlements

In the case of business failure: your obligations for employee entitlements

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  Last month, we discussed recent Senate committee proposals to strengthen the civil penalties regime under the Corporations Act 2001 for corporate wrongdoing. Today we want to talk about another area that the Government has identified for a compliance crackdown; employee entitlement liabilities in the case of insolvency. The Government is currently consulting on a range of options contained in a paper ‘Reforms to address corporate misuse of the Fair Entitlements Guarantee scheme’ (Note: Submissions close on 16 June 2017). The Fair Employment Guarantee (FEG) scheme is intended as a ‘safety net’, where the Government ensures employees get certain entitlements in the case of their employer going insolvent. After paying a claimant, the Government then becomes a creditor of the insolvent business. The scheme cost $1 billion over the four-year period…
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Is your business prepared for roll out of the Notifiable Data Breaches Scheme?

Is your business prepared for roll out of the Notifiable Data Breaches Scheme?

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This is our second post on the Notifiable Data Breaches Scheme. Amendments made to the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) this year, create new obligations for certain Australian business entities and organisations with respect to data beach notifications. The changes will come into effect on 22 February 2018. Will my business be affected by the Scheme? Only government agencies, companies, businesses and organisations that are ‘APP entities’ who already have obligations with respect to personal information under the Privacy Act will be affected by the Scheme. Generally speaking, this includes federal government agencies, private sector and not-for profit organisations that have an annual turnover in excess of $3 million as well as certain businesses with an annual turnover of less than $3 million (small businesses) that handle personal information. If you…
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Notifiable Data Breaches: Draft Resources Released

Notifiable Data Breaches: Draft Resources Released

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Last Friday the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) released draft resources to help businesses comply with the Notifiable Data Breaches (NDB) scheme. Under the NDS scheme, organisations covered by the Privacy Act are required to notify individuals if their personal information is involved in a data breach that is likely to result in serious harm. This will be an important area of compliance for all APP entities. The resources published on Friday cover: • Entities covered by the NDB scheme • Notifying individuals about an eligible data breach • Identifying eligible data breaches • The Australian Information Commissioner’s role in the NDB scheme. This is the first in a series of posts looking at the NDB scheme. In this post, we will examine the definition of a Notifiable Data Breach based…
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